28 December 2012

Liberia: Govt Faces Huge Task Against Marijuana Farmers

Law enforcement officials in Liberia's central region of Bong County say weak drug laws are making it difficult for the Government of Liberia (GoL) to crack down on marijuana farmers engaged in domestic marijuana trade in that part of the country, the Heritage has gathered.

According to report, many farmers in Liberia are turning to growing marijuana to make ends meet. Marijuana is largely a domestic trade, the report notes. The United Nations (UN) Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) says marijuana is the world's most widely used illegal drug. The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime adds that many African countries, like Liberia, have ideal growing climates for marijuana.

The UNODC says a quarter of the world's marijuana is grown in Africa. It reports that up to 13.5 percent of the adult population uses it. This is higher than the global average of between two and five percent.

The report indicates that growing, selling and buying marijuana is illegal in Liberia, but Liberian law enforcement officials here are quoted as saying that penalties for growing, selling and buying the drug are minimal and not enforced, adding that they [Liberian law enforcement officers] do not have enough resources, or strong laws, to go after offenders.

The Chief for central Liberia at the Drugs Enforcement Agency (DEA), Flomo Weahma, says:"Currently, the laws on the book, in my view, are very weak, and they are permissive of these acts that are perpetrated by criminals who continue to have these drugs in our communities, that have caused our children, our brothers, our fathers and our mothers to become addicted to these harmful substances," the report divulges.

The report discloses that Liberian drug officials say local production and consumption of marijuana is a problem, adding that those involved in marijuana trade said they cannot survive without it.

The Director of the DEA, Anthony Souh, the report adds, stated that marijuana is illegal, no matter what, adding: "You cannot take crime to be an income-generating activity. What is a crime is a crime. To go into drugs does not justify one's desire to make money because there are other cash crops that can make money as well."

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